A man and a woman described by cops as white supremacists ambushed and killed two Las Vegas police officers who had sat down at a North Vegas pizza restaurant then fatally shot a civilian before killing themselves, cops said.
Cops said the shooters, identified Monday as Jerad and Amanda Miller, shot the officers, then stole their guns and ammunition before heading to the Walmart. One of the officers died on the scene and the other died in surgery at a local hospital.
Sheriff Douglas Gillespie identified the slain officers as 32-year-old Igor Soldo and 42-year-old Alyn Beck, who were hired in 2006 and 2001, respectively.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Beck was a senior patrol officer who had taught advanced officer skills training at the Metro academy.
Sheriff identifies slain officers as Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck. Soldo hired in 2006; Beck in 2001. #lvrj
— Mike Blasky (@blasky) June 8, 2014
It’s the second set of slayings of police officers in North America in less than a week. Last Wednesday night, a gunman went on a rampage through the Canadian city of Moncton, New Brunswick, killing three cops and injuring two others. The gunman in that incident, Justin Bouruqe, was arrested in the back yard of a local singer/songwriter after a manhunt that lasted more than 28 hours.
Here’s what you need to know about the developing story:
1. The Officers Were Ambushed at a North Las Vegas Pizza Place
The officers were at at Cici’s, a restaurant on North Nellis Boulevard in North Las Vegas, when the suspects approached them and started shooting just after 11:20 a.m. Mountain Time, authorities said.
The Review-Journal reported one of the officers was filling up a cup at the soft drink machine when the female suspect shot him in the head, killing him instantly. The male suspect shot the other officer multiple times as the officer was drawing a gun. Gillespie said the officer was able to fire back at the suspects despite being shot.
It’s not clear why Soldo and Beck were targeted.
2. A Suspect Yelled ‘Tell the Police the Revolution Has Begun’ & Draped an Officer’s Body in a Gadsden Flag
After stealing the officers’ guns and ammunition and heading out of the restaurant, one of the suspects yelled “tell the police the revolution has begun,” according to KLAS, the Las Vegas CBS affiliate.
The Review-Journal reported one of the suspects draped one of the officers’ bodies in something that featured the Gadsden flag, the yellow banner featuring a snake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me” that served as a symbol of the American Revolution.
Some groups have used the flag in recent years as a symbol of the Tea Party movement, though it’s not clear what, if any, connections the suspects had to Tea Party groups.
Gillespie said cops had not confirmed the “revolution” quote.
3. A Walmart Customer Carrying a Concealed Weapon Might Have Shot at the Suspects
The Las Vegas Review-Journal said there was an unconfirmed report that the suspects got into a shootout with a Walmart customer who was carrying a concealed weapon. Cops did not verify that report, though Gillespie acknowledged police were investigating it.
A SWAT team surrounded the nearby WalMart, but the bystander and suspects were dead before the suspects could be captured.
Gillespie said cops received a report of shots fired at the Walmart at 11:27 a.m. about five minutes after the shooting at the pizza joint.
4. The Sheriff Called Sunday an ‘Unprecedented’ Day of Sadness
Gillespie said the scene is still “dynamic” and there are a lot of questions he won’t be able to answer immediately. The emotional sheriff said Sunday was an “unprecedented day” in the department’s history.
He described a department overcome with sorrow after the officers’ deaths:
We have lost two officers with young families, and a family of law enforcement who cares very very much about them as well as a community that cares very much about them as well as the innocent citizen that lost their life. What precipitated this event we do not know.
My officers were simply having lunch when the shooting started. As I said before, ongoing investigation, many unanswered questions, some of which I’ll be able to answer for you today, but I’m sure many of them I will not. I say to the community and I say to my officers: It’s a tragic day. It’s a very, very difficult day. But we still have a community to protect. We will be out there with our heads held high, but an emptiness in our hearts.
Watch the news conference in the video above.
5. Cops Found Swastika Symbols on Some of the Suspects’ Belongings
Police told the Review-Journal that they found swastikas during their initial investigation of the suspects, who neighbors told the paper were married and in their late 20s.
Neighbors said the suspects were named Jared and Amanda, but did not know their last names.
One neighbor told the Review-Journal that the male suspect would dress in camouflage and sometimes go to work dressed as Peter Pan. The neighbor said the man also claimed to have been kicked off the property of Nevada rancher Clivan Bundy during Bundy’s standoff with federal authorities in April.
Local cops and FBI agents were searching the suspects’ apartment late Sunday night and set off an explosion, according to local reporters.
— Kevin M. Cannon (@kmcannonphoto) June 9, 2014
Gillespie said at his Sunday press conference that officials would be updating the media as the story develops, though it’s not clear when cops will identify the suspects.